Did You Know?
White Oak Conservation Facts
Where can you find 35 species of some of the rarest endangered animals in the world? Not in a zoo, but at a place called White Oak Conservation in Yulee, FL (30 minutes from Jacksonville) on 13,000 acres at the end of a dirt road.
White Oak Conservation is internationally known for its breeding, research and educational training programs to help save endangered species. Cheetahs, the Mississippi Sandhill crane, the okapi (a distant cousin to the giraffe), Florida panthers and 3 of the 5 rhinoceros’ species have all benefited from White Oaks’ conservation efforts.
Mark and Kimbra Walter, owners of the L.A. Dodgers, purchased the facility in 2013 from the Gilman family who had initiated a species conservation program. Since buying the property, programs have been expanded to target schools to teach the next generation of conservationists and an artist in residence program was piloted in 2016Who doesn’t love elephants, the largest land animal on earth? Of the 2 main species, African and Asian, the African elephants are larger, with tusks on both males and females. The Asian elephants have much smaller bodies and ears and tusks only grow on males. And of course, they live in completely different environments with the African elephant living on the hot plains of Africa and the Asian in the cooler jungles of Asia.
Our Experience at White Oak Conservation
In Dec, 2016, we toured the facilities at White Oak Conservation and were stunned with the quality and scope of work being done to help save wildlife. The staff were knowledgeable, energetic and entertaining while always keeping the welfare of the animals as the priority. Seeing a Pere David deer which is extinct in the wild but is now being bred to reintroduce into its native China was amazing.
And while we loved the majestic giraffes, the rhinos were our favorite. We were actually able to touch a mother and her baby. For Dale, to touch the skin of a wild animal he has carved in stone, this was a once in a lifetime experience.
What Can We Do to Help Endangered Species?
What exactly is an endangered species? Any animal or plant that is likely to become extinct (completely die out) is considered endangered. Unfortunately, there are thousands of species that may cease to exist in our lifetime often as a result of human activity destroying habitat. We can help by educating ourselves and taking action to get involved just as White Oak Conservation is doing.
White Oak www.whiteoakwildlife.org